Half a century ago, Belgian Zoologist Bernard Heuvelmans first codified cryptozoology in his book On the Track of Unknown Animals.

The Centre for Fortean Zoology (CFZ) are still on the track, and have been since 1992. But as if chasing unknown animals wasn't enough, we are involved in education, conservation, and good old-fashioned natural history! We already have three journals, the largest cryptozoological publishing house in the world, CFZtv, and the largest cryptozoological conference in the English-speaking world, but in January 2009 someone suggested that we started a daily online magazine! The CFZ bloggo is a collaborative effort by a coalition of members, friends, and supporters of the CFZ, and covers all the subjects with which we deal, with a smattering of music, high strangeness and surreal humour to make up the mix.

It is edited by CFZ Director Jon Downes, and subbed by the lovely Lizzy Bitakara'mire (formerly Clancy), scourge of improper syntax. The daily newsblog is edited by Corinna Downes, head administratrix of the CFZ, and the indexing is done by Lee Canty and Kathy Imbriani. There is regular news from the CFZ Mystery Cat study group, and regular fortean bird news from 'The Watcher of the Skies'. Regular bloggers include Dr Karl Shuker, Dale Drinnon, Richard Muirhead and Richard Freeman.The CFZ bloggo is updated daily, and there's nothing quite like it anywhere else. Come and join us...

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Monday, December 29, 2014

A walk on Dartmoor: face-to-face with a homemade grim reaper

One of the black dogs of Dartmoor …
One of the black dogs of Dartmoor … Photograph: Adam Burton/Getty Images/Robert Harding World Imagery
When I enter the excellent occult gift shop Paper Moon in Totnes, I can’t see its proprietor, Ralph, but there is a pile of large, dry white leaves behind the counter, and they’re moving slightly. “Never have incense burning when you’re eating cheese,” the leaves announce. “It’s a disaster.” Being used to Totnes by now – a town where, just half an hour ago, I saw a white van with the words “Unicorn Ambulance” stencilled on it – I’m not too freaked out by the idea of talking foliage, but I am a bit spooked that the leaves seem clairvoyantly aware of my plans for the weekend. It’s a relief when a man I’d not noticed behind a stand of cards on the other side of the shop replies, “I know. I should stop doing that. Camembert is the worst. It really absorbs the vapours.”
“Oh, hello,” says Ralph, popping his head up from behind the leaves. “What have you got there?” I ask him. He tells me the leaves are white sage, which, according to Native American belief, has strong cleansing properties. “People often use it to fix negative houses,” he says. Until recently, I did own an extremely negative shed, but my house feels pretty positive on the whole, so I decide to refrain from a purchase. There is plenty of interesting stuff to buy in Paper Moon – I’m zoning in on a book about Britain’s lost green lanes, a twig pentagram and a linocut of an owl right now – but today I’m here to quiz Ralph about Dartmoor.

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